Your Brain, Explained

Your Brain, Explained: What Neuroscience Reveals about Your Brain and its Quirks - Marc Dingman

[I received a copy through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.]

A pretty informative read on what’s going on in our brains, I found this book to be a good introduction to the topic: it doesn’t go too deep into complex science, but it also provides enough to be interesting even if, like me, you already know a little. What I already knew was there, so that’s consolidated knowledge for me, and what I didn’t, well, now I have new things to mull over.

On top of anatomy, the author also covers current (and past) research about the brain—apparently, there was a time when people found it OK to experiment on dogs’ brains without anaesthetising the poor pups—as well as brain chemistry and pharmacology. Several case studies, usually found at the beginning of each chapter, illustrate each topic, the latter ranging from language to memory, from addiction to fear, and more. The part about sleep especially interested me, due to my own difficulties with that—I knew that I shouldn’t drink coffee too late in the day (in my family, we used to say “never after 1 pm”) but now I also know that it’s because of caffeine’s long half-life, and putting numbers on this definitely helps enforce the point.

One mistake I made with this book, though, was to not always read it at the right moments. So don’t be like me, don’t read it right before bed when you’re already half-asleep. It won’t do it justice. (I basically had to read a couple of chapters again the next day to make sure I’d get everything. It’s not complicated writing or concepts, but that’s on a fully awake brain, right!)

Conclusion: A strong “introduction”, that actually also has good nuggets for people who have some knowledge on the topic.